Hiking and Mountain Biking in the Estérels

Summer is officially here!  As the weather starts heating up, the options for outdoor activities expand as attractions and sightseeing operators open for the season.

However, some of the best family-friendly activities are free and right on our doorstep!

Around 40 minutes’ drive from where I live is the start of the Massif de l’Estérels, a coastal region sculpted by rust red porphyry rock, scrubby vegetation, inland lakes, valleys, pebbly coves with clear water and a vineyard here and there.

esterels

The area roughly falls between Mandelieu in the east and Fréjus in the west and has one of the most scenic driving routes – the Corniche d’Or – as well as many excellent hiking and mountain biking trails.

The Estérels Côte d’Azur website is a great multi-lingual website for finding out more about the various walks (balades & randonnées) and mountain biking (VTT) itineraries you can do, as well as information about the local beaches and coves.

I also find Plages.tv super useful for photos and descriptions of the facilities at beaches in France; simply choose your region, choose the language option and search!

Three family-friendly walks you’ll find on the Estérels Côte d’Azur website include:

  • Cap Dramont with the Île d’Or which is said to have been the inspiration for Hergé’s ‘L’île Noire (The Black Island)‘ in The Adventures of Tin Tin
  • The Sentier Découverte de 25 ponts (Discovery Trail for 25 bridges)
  • L’Étang Aubert

ile

The VTT trail that is easiest for families is the Mal Infernet-Lac de L’écureuil path with low elevation.

Hiking website link:  http://circuits.esterel-cotedazur.com/balades-randonnees

Mountain biking website link:  http://circuits.esterel-cotedazur.com/parcours-vtt/

Please share this post on Facebook or Twitter if you found it helpful, thank you!

 

9 French Riviera Drone Videos Worth Watching

My contribution to this month’s #AllaboutFrance blog link up hosted by Lou Messugo features some great drone videos of locations across the French Riviera.

I have a small obsession with drone videos for tourism as I believe they can really enhance a destination’s appeal and I’m the first to admit I have lost far too many hours watching various global footage on Travel by Drone.

Drones in Tourism

A while ago I wrote a dedicated blog post about Drones in Tourism and since then I have seen a huge increase in destinational videos from both amateurs and certified drone pilots, and the drone sector is now taking the marketing efforts away from the sole direction of tourism boards and into the hands – or controls – of the public.

Drone videos have the ability to take a vertical and horizontal snapshot of a location, festival or event and I have a particular interest in the usefulness of them for persons who have restricted mobility because they often show the topography and layout of a location or city (e.g. geographical slope, placement of stairs, etc) which is so often omitted from tourist brochures or websites.

Drone videos have had a solid uptake across many other industries (such as construction, real estate and military) and adventure sports have seen a colossal regeneration in interest with the likes of Red Bull quickly capturing viewer’s attention with adrenaline-racing footage of mountain biking, extreme skiing and surfing. It is an easy way for companies to spread their brand with expertly filmed videos being shared across social media.

My main gripe with drone videos is the accompanying soundtracks – many videos are accompanied with terrible music!

Here are 9 French Riviera Drone Videos Worth Watching:

1. This superb drone video highlights Menton and the beautiful Basilique Saint-Michel with the bell tower and you can see the parvis made of pebbles based on the design of the Grimaldi coat of arms (Video credit: Drone de regard / Vincent Jacques)

2.  This video includes some of my favourite places on the French Riviera including Lac St Cassien, the Esterel coastline and Antibes Old Town (Video credit: Jamie White):

3. This video offers a superb virtual tour of the gardens and surrounds at the beautiful Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild on the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula. If you want to visit the Villa, read my blog post with tips for visiting Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (Video credit: Drone in Nice)

4. This video showcases some of the lovely villages and picturesque scenery in the Roya Valley including the Fort Central and La Brigue (Video credit: Drone de regard / Vincent Jacques)

5.   Monaco highlights slotted into 5 minutes 51 seconds of drone footage including the Monaco Cathedral, Palais Square, Monaco Oceanarium, fly-over of Larvotto beach, Casino Square, Grand Prix highlights, Jardin Exotique, Monte-Carlo Golf Club and more. (Video credit: Team Nanopirate)

6. Turn down the volume (personally I find the soundtrack distracting), then enjoy this excellent drone video with highlights of Cannes, Mandelieu La Napoule and the Esterels including Cap du Dramont and L’île d’Or (Video credit: Team Nanopirate)

7. This video is a nice overview of Tende and surrounds including the Chapelle Saint-Saveur (Video credit: Drone de regard / Vincent Jacques)

8.  A superb drone video by the Droning Dutchman with aerial shots of the Ésterels, Île d’Or, Fréjus and Saint Raphael.

9.   This is one of my favourite drone videos of our beautiful region, mainly because it includes footage of many locations near where I live and I love the choice of soundtrack.  No explanation needed, just enjoy it and understand why I feel lucky to live here (Video credit:  Thomas Hubener/UBNR)

Which drone video above is your favourite? And why?

Lou Messugo